Mekela Panditharatne

  • Hosted by Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Environmental Justice, Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Mekela created better public health outcomes for disadvantaged communities experiencing high exposures to pollutants from contaminated drinking water.

America has a drinking water crisis. Contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, exposed tens of thousands of Flint residents to lead, and contributed to an increase in elevated blood lead levels among the city’s children. Nearly 77 million people in the United States were served by community water systems in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015. 27 million people were served by water systems that violated a health-based standard under the Act.

Fellowship Highlights

Mekela developed federal matters addressing severe lead contamination in drinking water. She advocated for greater investment in drinking water infrastructure in vulnerable communities and published critical data on communities at risk of drinking water contamination.

Next Steps

Mekela will join Earthjustice where she will work on environmental, governance and racial justice issues. Mekela is a member of the New York State Bar.


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